I can’t sleep.
It’s 530am, New Year’s Eve.
I’ve been in bed, awake, since an hour ago and I’m excited. And nervous.
I had just finished shooting a wedding with one of my favourite couples 2 days ago and I’ll be doing another wedding today, ushering in the New Year with anther couple.
What a year it has been, and it is going to be an even crazier year in 2013.
If you told me in 2011 that for 2012 I would be running a thriving photography business, shooting 38 weddings, flying to some far flung destinations, and most of all meeting some amazing people who have poured their heart and soul into their day and are head over heels in love with my work, I’d say you were nuts.
But that was exactly what happened. I sit here on the cusp of 2013, and I can hear the birds outside my window waking up to a beautiful sunrise like they do everyday. Except today just feels different.
Looking back, I would never have imagined we would be where we are today. Statistically we did 12 weddings in 2011. We more than tripled that this year. We’re still in our infancy with the business, having been in it full-time for just over a year and a half. My wife’s quit her job and joined me in running it too. Our finances are healthy, and we have a steady stream of bookings for 2013/14 already. We truly are blessed.
There have been times that tested us. Tested me, really. And our relationship. Business has a way of doing that to a marriage. You are put through a fire and either you melt under the heat or become tempered and stronger. I am thankful that I have a wife that knows the industry inside out, but more than that she has a mind that is pragmatic and goal oriented. I, however, am prone to flights of fancy and ambition, always looking to do the next thing, pushing ahead, sometimes forgetting we need to walk before we can run. And sometimes I get frustrated when we fall. We balance each other out.
On a deeper level, I’ve taken my art to a stage where I can truly say I’m proud of it. I’m not ashamed to say it, I love my work. And I love the couples who come to us and say, “We trust you.” Photography for a wedding has become a bit of a necessity. You hire one because it’s the thing to do. Because someone told you you need to hire a professional, whether you like having your photo taken or not. We want to go beyond that. We want our couples to love us and what we do. We want them to hire us not because they had to, but because they really want to. Most of all we love the couples that fit “us” perfectly.
I put a lot of myself in my work. My heart and soul goes into each wedding I do, and I’m always pushing myself to do better, technically and artistically. My work reflects who I am and how I see the world. It goes down to the very core of my being. I don’t work off a “shot list” in my head. I don’t just shoot the necessary stuff and leave the rest. And I definitely don’t run the business just to make money. The wedding industry is unfortunately rife with people looking to make a quick buck. I have a personal issue with people who think that way and people who get into it with that mindset. But I digress.
I approach each wedding without so much as an idea of how to shoot it, but just with both eyes open. I stand back, observe, and wait. And when I see something worth capturing I make sure I’m ready. Every press of the shutter means something: from the groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time, to the joy and tears of the parents as they listen to their daughter give their reception speech. It’s all a story unfolding in front of me. Except it is real.
It’s all very exciting.
Another 2 hours to go and I’ll be heading out to shoot my last wedding of the year. And then it will be 2013.
I’m optimistic for the coming year. For one, we’re starting with a real bang. We’re going to meet Jonas Peterson and The Parsons in a few weeks. To say I’m exploding with enthusiasm is an understatement. What a way to start the year.
It’s going to be awesome.